South Africa: Premier Sihle Zikalala - Kwazulu-Natal State of the Province Address

press release

State of the Province Address as delivered by Mr S Zikalala, MPL, Honourable Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal on 28 June 2019

Breaking the grimy restraints for a United, Healthy, Safe, and Prosperous KwaZulu-Natal

His Majesty - Hlanga Lomhlabathi;

Queen Mothers;

Ondlunkulu Besilo;

Abantwana Basendlunkulu;

Former President J.G Zuma

Members of the NCOP present;

Former Premiers;

Madam Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the KZN Legislature;

Former Deputy Speaker Dr Meshack Hadebe

Honourable Judge President - KZN Division;

Honourable Ministers present;

Honourable Deputy Minister present;

Honourable Members of the Provincial Executive Council;

Honourable Members of the Legislature;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps present;

Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi P H D Chiliza and Umama we Sizwe saseMadungeni;

Members of the Executive Committee of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders;

Mayors and Councillors of Local Government present;

Acting Director-General, Mr S Ngubane;

Heads of Provincial Departments and other senior officials present;

Business representatives present;

Labour representatives present;

Religious leaders present;

Struggle Stalwarts and their Families present;

Mrs. Mathabo Rachel Kunene, one of our special guests today;

All other social partners and broader civil society present;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Listeners and viewers at home;

Sanibonani! Dumelang! Good morning! Goeie more!

Introduction and scene setting: Life does not begin with us

A colossus of African poetry and an admired son of KwaZulu-Natal, the late Mazisi kaMdabuli Kunene, has a lingering caution: "Life does not begin with Us!"

Taking heed from this national griot who gave us the epics, "Emperor Shaka the Great" and "Anthem of the Decades," we recall how at different epochs, history has been kind to bless us with revolutionary prophets working for the healing of our land, our rebirth, and prosperity.

One such figure was the young Pixley Seme who at the tender age of 25, at Columbia University in the United States of America, proclaimed a vision of renewal in his masterpiece, "The Regeneration of Africa" where he said:

"The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved; Her desert plains red with harvest;

"Her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities,

"Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce;

"Her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business;

"And all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace--greater and more abidingthan the spoils of war.

"Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period!"

Dr Seme could easily have identified economic freedom in our lifetime as our generational mission in this new and powerful period.

And indeed, Life does not begin with us.

Today we are here as conduits to express the wishes of the majority of South Africans who have entrusted the African National Congress with the sacred responsibility of restoring the dignity of the majority poor and bring a better life to all.

Honourable Speaker and Members of this august House;

The twenty five years of freedom and democracy of our country also provides a special opportunity to celebrate the longest peace and development that KZN has achieved.

We can never return to the shameful days of the so-called "black on black violence." We cannot again be synonymous with the painful memory of being known as the killing fields of South Africa. The recent unrest including killings, looting and burning of trucks, disruption of business operations, and proliferation of drugs cannot be tolerated within a society that intends to build a better life for its people.

We emerged from a painful history. The violence of the 1990s took no less than 20 000 lives, and as we said in 1997, "We owe it to the victims of political violence whose remains lie strewn on the hills and valleys of KwaZulu-Natal. We owe it to the widows and widowers. We owe it to the orphans and those who were maimed in this political violence. We owe it to the humblest among our people. We owe it to our ancestors. We owe it to generations to come... ."

And, we thank all our leaders without exception for working together to forge peace in our land.

Late President Mandela, Isilo, uNxamalala, u-Shenge, and all other leaders displayed exceptional leadership in dealing with political violence in the province.

We call on all of us, political formations and parties in this house, traditional leaders, religious leaders, civic society, including labour unions and NGOs, intellectuals, artists and community as a whole - let's work together to decisively stop the culture of violence and the prevailing state of lawlessness in our province. It is high time that this be confronted and be dealt with, once and for all, for the future and prosperity of the province.

In addition to dealing with violence we have to eliminate the use of drugs, substance abuse, confront domestic violence, women and child abuse and stop teenage pregnancy. Equally, we have to deal with racial intolerance that keeps showing its ugly heads from time to time.

We must embark on a vigorous campaign to build social stability, restore human values and solidarity amongst people as underpinned by the sole conviction that "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu", a person is a person by others. I am, because you are!

We want peace and social cohesion to be our daily mantra and the creed of all the residents of the province. Our ambition must be to become a model for sustainable peace and a mecca for conflict resolution.

At this juncture, let me acknowledge the presence of Adv. Vasu Gounden, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). He has participated in continental and global peace initiatives. Last year, during the centenary birth our world icon and Nobel Peace Laurette, former President Nelson Mandela, Adv. Gounden participated in the United Nation Peace Dialogue held during the UN Special Council attended by all Heads of State.

We further extend our appreciation to all Faith-Based leaders present here, and rely on them and other social partners to contribute to the building of social cohesion and moral regeneration amongst all our people.

Madam Speaker, please allow us to invite the spirit of Mazisi Kunene in order to remind us that we are

not only living for the future of our children, but for the honour of the departed ones as well.

In the lyric, "In Praise of the Ancestors" Kunene writes:

We honour those who gave birth to us

With them we watch the spectacle of the moving mists.

They have opened their sacred book to sing with us

They are the mystery that envelopes our dream.

They are the power that shall unite us.

They are the strange truth of the earth.

They came from the womb of the universe

Restless they are, like a path of dreams...

We sing the anthems that celebrate their great eras.

For indeed life does not begin with us.

We are truly honoured to have Mrs Mathabo Rachel Kunene, the wife of uBaba uMazisi Kunene, and their son, Ra.

Centenary birth of CLS Nyembezi and Eskia Mphahlele

True, life does not begin or end with us.

There is also Professor Sibusiso Cyril Nyembezi and Eskia Mphahlele who came before us. And 2019 marks the centenary of their births.

In a year that has been declared by the United Nations the Year of Indigenous Languages which also happened to coincide with the centenary of this child of Babanango and great literary giant, we call on all the people of the Province to properly honour Nyembezi.

We are happy to learn about efforts of a young South African author and academic from eNhlangeni

Village in Nquthu, Dumisani Sibiya, who is making efforts to commemorate Professor CLS Nyembezi.

The Office of the Premier, in partnership with our Department of Arts and Culture, the Department of Education, as well as Tourism KZN which has a programme on Literary Tourism, will soon be announcing a province-wide, programme that must be implemented to honour the legacy of Nyembezi.

We hope to work with Mr Sibiya, other provincial isiZulu writers and creatives to do justice to the memory of Professor Nyembezi who gave us such classics as Inqolobane Yesizwe, Inkinsela yaseMgungundlovu, Mntanami Mntanami, Izibongo Zamakhosi, and Ubudoda Abukhulelwa.

The arts - literature, poetry, music, dance, painting, sculpting - all the art-forms can be very powerful in opening difficult dialogues and in building socially cohesive communities.

This Administration will play a leading role in supporting the creative industries and celebrating our artists.

In partnership with our traditional and religious leaders, we will work hard to reawaken the conscience of our people, build peace and promote social cohesion.

As we mark the 64TH Anniversary of the Freedom Charter, we remember Eskia Mphahlele.

Mphahlele was a devoted and a fierce opponent of Bantu Education and prolific author. It was Mphahlele who consolidated and presented the Freedom Charter Clause, the "Doors of Learning and Culture Shall Be Opened" in Kliptown on June 26, 1955.

The Clause also said, "the aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace."

Like Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Walter Sisulu, Mphahlele appreciated that education is a critical tool not only for self-development but for building the nation, its heritage, enhance social cohesion and human solidarity. We certainly need to do more to encourage our youth to cherish our country and people. Full speech [PDF]



Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government

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